Jamaica Plain has many worthwhile dining spots, including the excellent Wonder Spice Cafe that is located in the heart of this quirky Boston neighborhood. What makes the Wonder Spice particularly special is the fact that it features Cambodian food, which is a bit of a rarity in the Greater Boston area. A good part of its menu is also dedicated to Thai dishes, along with a few items that you might find in other Asian cuisines. And the Thai food compares favorably to the Cambodian food at this Jamaica Plain dining spot, so if you are unsure about venturing into Cambodian cuisine, the Wonder Spice indeed has other options on their menu from which you can choose.
The Wonder Spice Cafe is not a particularly large restaurant, but it is usually easy to get a table here. The main dining area is warm and comfortable, with attractive hanging lights, paintings of Southeast Asia on the walls, and an overall noise level that is relatively low, allowing for quiet conversation. Those familiar with Thai entrees will recognize many of the items on the menu, such as noodle soup, drunken noodle, and a sweet and savory pad Thai that is among the best that this writer has had in the entire Boston area. The Cambodian meals, while similar to what you might find at Vietnamese and Thai restaurants, are unique in their own ways. Indeed, the Khmer soup at the Wonder Spice Cafe tastes a lot like pho bowls, but with a slightly different mix of herbs, spices, and vegetables. You can also "make" your own dinner entree, choosing from a variety of meats, sauces, noodles, and rice. The freshness of everything here, from the tender steamed dumplings to the soups to the stir-fry dishes to the fried rice entrees, is certainly impressive, with high-quality ingredients used.
One wonders why a place that serves delicious, healthy, inexpensive food is only half full on a typical Saturday night. Yes, it is a good thing for those looking for tasty, scratch-made meals and not willing to wait two hours for it. But it seems a shame that more people don't know about the Wonder Spice Cafe. Do yourself a favor and try this friendly little spot; it isn't well-known, but it is certainly a restaurant that is well-liked by many of the locals in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.
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